Julie O'Hara

Why Less FODMAPs = Less Symptoms Is Wrong (Also, pizza!)

When someone asked me a question about low FODMAP pizza, I realized that no one ever talks about life after the FODMAP Diet. It's not about avoiding ever potential problem food; it's about finding your unique IBS triggers so you can have more freedom and get back to enjoying food again. Click through to get the free Test Food Tracker to help you find your triggers.

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During a group coaching session recently, one of my awesome clients asked if I had a great low-FODMAP pizza recipe. I said no because I only use ONE recipe: my favorite classic, chewy-crispy, stone-fired pizza dough.

“So what gluten-free flour do you use?” Another client asked.

When I clarified that I use regular all-purpose wheat flour for my pizza, minds were blown.

In that moment a light-bulb went on in my head: No one talks about life AFTER the FODMAP Diet. 

You might not know you can bring certain high-FODMAP foods back into your life because nobody bothered to explain it.

You might know about avoiding high-FODMAP food and  testing FODMAPs (i.e. the Reintroduction Phase), but what about the end goal of this process?

To put it plainly, less FODMAPs = less symptoms isn’t the full story. The end goal is to eat some pizza, or crisp apples, or ice cream - or whatever food you’ve loved and lost!

The end goal isn’t to restrict all high-FODMAP foods forever. The goal is learning your unique IBS triggers.

When you know your personal triggers and tolerance levels, you can... 

  • Bring back high-FODMAP foods that don’t cause your stomach issues
  • Know what portions of high-FODMAP foods trigger your symptoms, and eat smaller amounts of those
  • Stop avoiding “natural flavors” in foods that might have a tiny amount of onion or garlic
  • Go to restaurants and not shy away from every bit of wheat and lactose on the menu
  • Choose what you’ll eat based on solid knowledge of how food affects your body, instead of guessing and fearing the consequences

For me, this means my favorite pizza is back in my life - I learned wheat doesn’t trigger my IBS symptoms. Here’s what it means for some of my clients…


Testing FODMAPs and learning their personal triggers is how these ladies went from anxiety and restriction to having fun eating again.

And it doesn’t take tons of time or willpower to test FODMAPs. The key is to create your testing plan, set a date, and track your results.

In case you missed it, I designed a tool to make this quick and simple. Click here to get the FREE Test Food Tracker!

Avoiding every high-FODMAP food 24/7 is good when you use it for a purpose: Learning about your body and giving it a clean slate. Kind of like hitting the reset button.

But if you’re doing it with no purpose or end goal, you’re depriving yourself of a huge variety of food when it’s not necessary.

Going through the process and testing the different FODMAP categories is worth it because of what you get in the end: You know what triggers your IBS and what doesn’t so you’re free to eat without fear.

It can feel like discovering the FODMAP diet is what changes your life, but it’s not. 

Knowing your triggers is what changes your life - It breaks you out of food jail and leads you to freedom. And if freedom looks like pizza to you, you owe it to yourself to find out.

Leave a comment and tell me what you want your life to look like after FODMAP! Is the thought of eating high-FODMAP foods again blowing your mind? (and if you just want my pizza recipe, don’t hesitate to ask!)

Free To Eat is open for registrations NOW!

Join me and one group of fearless women on one transformational adventure.

Click here to learn more!

You’re Missing Out on Delicious Food (here’s how to enjoy eating - even with IBS)

You’re Missing Out on Delicious Food (here’s how to enjoy eating - even with IBS)

With the FREE Test Food Tracker, you’ll have the #1 tool you need to test FODMAPs and learn your unique IBS triggers. Imagine going to a restaurant and NOT experiencing that sinking feeling of anxiety as you read the menu. Click through and sign up to get the Free Tracker instantly! www.calmbellykitchen.com

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When you take away high-FODMAP foods and get relief from your IBS symptoms, it feels pretty amazing.

You work hard to eliminate every possible FODMAP ingredient from your plate so you can keep feeling good. 

You avoid going to restaurants whenever possible and turn down social meals.

You’re good at planning and cooking your own food, but the effort is exhausting and you wish you could just pick up pizza once in awhile.

It seems like you can count your “safe” foods on two hands, and stressing over every bite is wearing you down (or making you want to binge on Mexican).

Right now you’re missing out on delicious food, and you don’t need to be.

There’s a way out of this lonely, hungry place and it’s all about finding your unique IBS triggers.  

I’m here to tell you finding your triggers isn’t as difficult as you might think. It’s even a little fun, especially with this handy tool I created to help you along the way!

Click here to download your FREE Test Food Tracker!

Why Test High-FODMAP Foods?

You need to test FODMAPs for three reasons:

  1. Right now you know you’re sensitive to FODMAPs, but you don’t know which ones
  2. There’s a very good chance you can eat some high-FODMAP foods and still keep your symptoms in check - one study found only 33% of people with IBS are sensitive to fructose
  3. You’ll be able to have much more variety in your diet which is important for gut health...but also important for living life and enjoying eating again

Who Should Test FODMAPs?

You're ready to start the testing process (a.k.a. the Reintroduction Phase) if…

  • You saw an improvement in your symptoms when you eliminated FODMAPS
  • You discovered the other factors that contribute to your IBS symptoms (stress, sleep, hormones, etc.) during the elimination process - and learned how to handle them

If those statements describe you, you’re ready to bring back FODMAPs and learn your unique triggers!

Through the Elimination Phase you gave your body a clean slate. Now it’s time to learn what FODMAPs are the culprits for YOU specifically - and which ones can be part of your life again. 

The #1 Tool You Need to Test FODMAPs

When I coach people through FODMAP testing, we approach it like an experiment - You’re collecting data about your body in an organized process. 

In the end, you use all this awesome info to create your unique lifetime eating style so you can stop policing every bite and start enjoying food again.

Having a simple tool to track your food testing results is essential. Why? 

  • It lets you see patterns in how your body reacts to different FODMAPs. 
  • It clearly shows you how long it takes for symptoms to pop up - many people notice that it takes 1 to 2 days. This info is gold!

For every FODMAP category you test, you’ll start with a very small serving (so you’re never blindsided by major symptoms) and work your way up to a large serving.

As you go through the process you need to track the following:

  1. The test food and its FODMAP category
  2. Serving size
  3. Any symptoms you experience up to 48 hours (depending on your body) after testing 

You already know that FODMAP testing is the way to more food freedom - but it can be overwhelming, so I created a free Test Food Tracker that you can download and get started as soon as today!

It’s the same tool I use in my coaching program Free To Eat.

This Tracker is a workbook that you can fill out on your computer (just save it to your device and you’ll be able to type into it), or print it out and write on it!

As an extra bonus, I added a cover page that helps you design your personalized testing plan. There’s also a place to fill in your start date - Put it on your calendar and commit to it. 

Remember, it’s not healthy (for your body or your social life) to stay in a strict elimination diet for more than a few weeks. More importantly, it’s not necessary!

Download the free Test Food Tracker and start planning. If I’d never learned my unique IBS triggers, I wouldn’t have known it was okay to eat my favorite pizza dough again - wheat is NOT one of my trigger foods.

Having more freedom and less stress in my diet was totally worth the effort, and that’s what I want for you too!

 

Free To Eat is open for registrations NOW!

Join me and one group of fearless women on one transformational adventure.

Click here to learn more!

10 Ways to Beat Bloat (Besides the FODMAP Diet)

Learn 10 ways to deal with bloating besides eating a low FODMAP Diet. Bloating is one of the most common IBS symptoms, but there's a lot you can do to prevent it, and most of these tips are super easy! Click through to get the strategies!

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Dealing with IBS symptoms often requires a mixed bag of strategies. This is definitely true when it comes to bloating.

This video blog is part 3 in my series on dealing with IBS symptoms, and it's likely the one you've been waiting for!

Catch up on the series here:

When I polled the CBK Facebook group, 45% of you named bloating as your most common IBS symptom (24% said diarrhea while 18% said constipation). 

Avoiding your personal FODMAP trigger foods can make a huge difference in beating the bloat, but there are plenty of other strategies to add to your bag of tricks!

10 Ways to Beat Bloat (Besides the FODMAP Diet) 

Watch the video to go deep on this topic, or keep reading to get the main points.

Just the key points:

First thing's first: Calm Belly Kitchen is an educational resource and doesn't replace personalized medical advice. Check with a doctor before starting any new dietary treatment or supplement.

#1 Quit carbonation
Even seltzer and sparkling water (sorry La Croix lovers!) can puff up your belly.

#2 Eat till you’re satisfied, but not stuffed
Getting in the habit of eating smaller meals more frequently helps with bloat and other IBS symptoms too.

#3 Don’t use straws or chug bevvies
In both cases you’re likely bringing excess air into your digestive track, which distends your midsection.

#4 Go easy on gum
Same as above: more chewing equals more air to strain your belly.

#5 Increase fiber intake slowly
Too much fiber when your body isn’t used to it often has the opposite effect you’re hoping for: constipation and bloating.

#6 Eat cooked veggies
Cooked is easier for sensitive bodies to digest than raw. 

#7 Eat fruit earlier in the day
This tip has helped so many of my clients beat afternoon bloat! Fresh fruit - even low-FODMAP choices - are easier to digest when your body is starting fresh in the AM.

#8 Take your time chewing
Not only will slowing down reduce excess air, it helps put your body in a relaxed state so stress doesn’t interfere with your digestion.

#9 Be mindful of salt intake
Cut down on processed and prepared foods, which tend to have loads more salt than homemade. Salt causes water retention.

#10 Stay hydrated
If you’re not getting enough fluids, your body holds onto the water it has and your clothes feel tighter.

Tell me, was this series on dealing with symptoms helpful? What topics would you like me to cover on future episodes of Calm Belly TV? Let me know in the comments!

Psst! >>> CBTV happens every Wednesday LIVE on the Calm Belly Kitchen Facebook page!

How To Deal with IBS-D (Try these 4 strategies in this order!)

Learn 4 strategies to help when diarrhea is your main symptom (IBS-D). These tips go in order from adjustments to the low FODMAP diet to exploring new options like the Specific Carbohydrate Diet. You'll also learn the specific type of fiber that's most helpful for IBS-D. Click through to get the strategies!

3 Ways To Deal with Constipation from IBS (and 1 thing not to do)

Eating a low FODMAP diet may not be enough to manage constipation when you have IBS. Luckily there lots of strategies that really work to manage constipation so you can feel great, beat the bloat and have calm belly life. Click through to read the post and watch the video!

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When it comes to managing IBS symptoms, smart eating is your first line of defense. Doing the low-FODMAP Diet is an amazing way to learn what foods trigger your symptoms AND what portion sizes keep your belly calm.

But sometimes supporting strategies are needed, which is why I'm doing a 3-part series on Calm Belly TV to help you deal with the 3 major symptoms of IBS: 

  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea 
  • Bloating

Fun topics, right!? Okay, they may not be fun, but there's a lot you can do to deal with these symptoms besides just watching your intake of high-FODMAP foods. That's what I'll be covering in the series. 

If you're not familiar with Calm Belly TV, it's my weekly live video chat on Facebook every Wednesday at 5:45 PM central time. I cover a topic that's usually a frequently asked question about FODMAP and IBS, and then I always take time to answer your questions.

Click here to follow Calm Belly Kitchen on Facebook so you don't miss the next episode of Calm Belly TV.

Want to get even more support from people who know what you're going through? Click here and request to join the Calm Belly Kitchen Crew, our private Facebook group!

Not on Facebook? No problem, I always upload CBTV episodes to my YouTube channel! Now onto Part 1 of the series:

3 Ways to Deal with Constipation (and 1 thing not to do)

Watch the video to go deep on this topic, or keep reading to get the main points.

Just the key points:

First thing's first: Calm Belly Kitchen is an educational resource and doesn't replace personalized medical advice. Check with a doctor before starting any new dietary treatment or supplement.

Let's recap: A low-FODMAP diet can help decrease constipation a lot, but additional treatments and strategies are often needed.

Why? FODMAPs are one of the major causes of IBS symptoms, but many other factors play a role in your digestion:

- The food you eat (fiber, fat, etc)
- Your hormones
- Bowel motility (how fast food goes through your system)
- Life stress 

In my experience and in my work with clients, I've seen that learning your personal trigger foods makes a huge difference. Still most people need supporting strategies to deal with constipation.

3 Strategies to Manage Constipation with IBS

1) The food you DO eat is important, so include a variety of fiber: 

  • Insoluble fiber: Adds bulk, pushes stool through the bowels; found in fruit and vegetable skins and whole grains 
  • Soluble fiber: Softens stool; found in fruit, veg, legumes, nuts and seeds (flax and chia are especially good for constipation)
  • Resistant starch: Feeds the good bacteria in your gut with prebiotic fiber; found in under-ripe bananas, cooked and cooled potatoes, and legumes (canned, rinsed lentils and chickpeas are great low-FODMAP options)

>>> Water: Acts as a stool softener; important if you're taking soluble fiber products such as Metamucil

2) Fiber supplements

  • Metamucil and similar products contain soluble and insoluble fiber
  • Ground psyllium contains soluble and insoluble fiber
  • Heather's Acacia Fiber contains only soluble fiber, which is thought to promote optimal bowel motility >>> works for both constipation AND diarrhea

3) Magnesium Citrate

  • Helps relax bowel spasms so it does not cause a sense of urgency unless you take a very large does 
  • Has a gentle osmotic effect...so it pulls water into the bowel, softening stool so it's easier to pass
  • Recommended not to exceed 900 mg/day
  • Experiment to find a dosage that works for you
  • Non-addictive

Solaray tablets and Natural Calm drink mix are two good options.

One Thing NOT To Do To Manage Constipation

Stimulant Laxatives (such as ExLax)

  • Only use for a limited time and exactly as directed
  • Stimulant laxatives are addictive because they reduce your natural bowel contractions and train your body to be dependent on their irritant effect 
  • Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration

Be sure to join the CBK Facebook group so you get reminders before each episode of Calm Belly TV!